Saturday, March 26, 2011

How to Make Suet Cakes for your Feathered Friends

One of my favorite projects is making my own suet cakes for the birds.  It's not that I have anything against the ones they sell in the stores.  This is just a really messy, fun project that I can do to use up some stuff that I have in the house.  Did I mention that it's messy?  

Here's how to do it.

First gather up your ingredients  
Suet (fat-stores around here sell it in its own container, usually about a dollar or so.  I've seen recipes that use shortening or vegetable shortening, but I use suet.)
Bird seed

Peanut Butter (crunchy or smooth, I use crunchy)
Quick Oats
Chopped fruit (I didn't have any this time, but I've used it in the past)
Stale cereal (The last time I did this I put a cranberry cereal in and the birds went crazy for it.)

Here's a picture of my ingredients:
Now you have to melt the suet.  It's kind of a stinky process, it makes your whole house smell like meat.
It looks gross, doesn't it??  Blech.  Once the suet's melted, you have to strain out the chunks.  To do this I used a flour sifter.  Make sure whatever you use isn't plastic, it WILL melt.  This is something I learned from experience know because I'm smart.
Now, dump the melted suet into a large bowl and add your other ingredients.
I don't measure anything when I'm doing this, I just wing it.  You don't want it to be too runny or too solid.  The peanut butter really helps with this step.  It acts as a kind of adhesive, holding the ingredients together.  Now that it's all mixed up, pour it into whatever you are going to use as molds.  I use those metal containers you get from Chinese take-out.  
Pop these bad boys into the freezer until they're solid.  Then you can take them out of the containers and wrap them in aluminum foil or however you want to store them.  I usually keep them in their containers, in the freezer, until I'm ready to put them outside.
I made these bigger than I normally would because I'm going to make a new suet feeder especially for these big blocks.
Pretty cool, right??  This took me probably an hour to do yesterday.  The longest part was melting the suet because it was frozen when I started.  Way to plan ahead Shawna.  What do you think?  Are you going to try it?  


Shannon said...

Ooo that looks fun and mostly like kid friendly. I think I might try to make those with my boys!

Cassie said...

I won't try it anytime soon... we live in an apartment upstairs one... but perhaps once we live in a house or something. Looks like a fun project.

Mommyto3andahusky said...

I just found your blog and became a follower! I Love your blog! Great ideas! :)

Kimberlee, The Spunky Diva said...

I love that you used old cereal. Much better than just throwing it away. Visiting from Sew Chatty.

Amanda said...

Will definitely be trying this! Every other recipe we tried was a disaster! Thanks for sharing.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

I bet the birdies love your place...what a great idea! Thanks for the tutorial on how to make it.

Ani said...

That's a neat idea. We live in an upstairs apartment, and the downstairs neighbors keep the birdies well fed, but perhaps when we have our own place... :)

Janie (Romantic Domestic) said...

That looks easy enough...I'm going to have to give it a try. Thanks for the tutorial!


Becky@Beyond The Picket Fence said...

great spring project for hungry mama birds. Thanks for linking up to Beyond The Picket Fence.

@pril said...

Very interesting post. I would love to feature this tutorial on my blog. I will send you the link. Today is my blog's first linky party. Feel free to join:

Ali said...

Great idea! I can't wait to make these with my daughters!

Sadie said...

This has been on my "to do" list for a while, definitely going to give it a go soon!


@pril said...

I featured this post on my blog:

Rachel at Sun Scholars said...

Awesome! I've always thought of making our own. My kids love watching the birds from our kitchen window. Thanks for sharing this!

I'd love to have you share this at my For the Kids Friday Link Party (going on now)! Come join the fun!

Krafty Kat said...

We really need to do this! We have so many birds around here that I know would appreciate it! Thanks for linking this! said...

cool! I love watching/feeding our feathered friends.

Christina @ The Tattered Tag said...

Thrilled to feature your great idea!! Happy to see your creative idea linked up last week at my K.I.S.S. blog bash. Looking forward to seeing what great project you share this week, remember the link is open until Tuesday @ midnight {CST}.

Drop by The Tattered Tag

Stephanie {Luxe Boulevard} said...

So sweet. And goes great with your bird feeder.

Rachel at Sun Scholars said...

Thanks for sharing this at last week's For the Kids Friday Link Party! This week's party is in full swing. I'd love to have you stop by and join in on the fun!


To Sew With Love said...

you always have great ideas, Shawna! thanks for sharing!

Kelli said...

How awesome! I would LOVE for you to stop over and link up this post in my new weekly Homeschooling on the Cheap link up. It is weekly, goes up on Thursday and stays up for the week.

Thank you! Kelli